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Re: Confuciusornis feather length and flight mode
True, they do describe Confuciusornis's mosaic of flight adaptations as
paradoxical. But here is the quote that gave me pause:
"However, very elongate, thin and narrow wings (Martin & Zhou, 1998;
Chiappe et al., 1999; Peters & Ji, 1999; Zinoviev, 2009), narrow primary
rachises (Nudds & Dyke, 2010) and anatomy indicating no flapping upstroke
capability suggest that Confuciusornis was almost certainly a glider."
They thus cite their original thin rachis conclusions without the
qualifications that they added in their response. The words "almost
certainly" seem overstated.
But I am intrigued to consider that Confuciusornis may well have had
unusual flight behaviors not seen in extant birds. That would make perfect
I hope it will be possible for Nudds and Dyke to confirm or deny the
rachis measurements of Zheng et al. at some point in the future.